Some time ago I learned about a new software for management of collections of all kind, with preset functions for banknotes, coins and others. Since by time the software got a custom functionality, I decided to give it a try and loaded my sand collection database into it. The software is not perfect as nothing is perfect on this world but it can be extremely useful for the management of sand collections. Being partially customizable, the software allows you to create your own fields but it also offers some preset options. Accepting that not all the features offered are matching the sand collector's needs, you will soon discover the obvious advantages of using an integrated system for sorting out and displaying your "treasure".
The software I am writing about is called Collection Studio
(see also download link
at the bottom of this post). It is difficult to post a full review here but I'll try to make a short summary for you underlying the most important features and let you enjoy discovering the rest.1. Import
First important option is the "Import" tool, which means you can easily import your Excel lists without being necessary to enter each sand sample one by one. The formats supported are comma-separated and semicolon-separated (.csv files), tab-separated text document (.txt) or XML tables (format .xml). The most easiest way is save your Excel list as .csv file (I suggest semicolon-separated) and use the import feature of the program to do the rest.2. Create your own fields
Do you have fields such as "country", "continent", "region", "exact location"...? No problem to create exactly the same fields into CS so that you can keep managing your collection in the same way as before.3. Comprehensive data storage
Beside the customized fields described above, the software offers the possibility to attach additional information to each entry, such as: external documents (with common extensions and the possibility to call the respective document directly from the software), external html links, photos and extended comments (with text formating options). Additionally the program can assign an automated ID, let you select the storage unit (in case you store your sands in shelves, boxes etc), income date, trade partner, leftovers for trading purpose or name of the donor (automatically creating a full contact card into the contacts field) etc. Since the software was oriniginally developed for coins and banknotes, it also contains a "price" tag and a "loan status" tag which are of no use for sand collectors so you may just ignore them.4. Contacts database
Contact details of each trade partner or sand donor can be easily stored into the software and a listing to the respective samples is created automatically. Common info such as address, email, phone number etc are very easy to enter and you may add a photo, link, website adress or personal comments at your liking (I usually keep here detailed record of the trade: how many samples, total weight, date sent, date received etc.)5. Statistics
You will definitelly enjoy to see a world map with "active areas" (countries where you have sand from) and "grey areas" (missing countries), don't you? You can do this for the whole world or for each continent separately and be able to see a complete overview of your collection: total number of countries, countries with sands, missing countries, percentages, no of samples per country etc. The view can be extended by selecting to display statistics by trade partner, incoming year, storage unit or just another specific field chosen by yourself. And by the way, also countries flags are displayed so the lists look pretty cool... (as a note, the country database contains countries that do not exist anymore - such as USSR for example - but which are important for collectors of coins etc. You have the possibility to keep in the list only the desired countries and also to add new ones if you feel necessary). And I forgot to mention the automatically generated tradelist in case you filled in the trade amount for each sample.6. Filter
You may sort out your collection by any column you like in ascending or descending order but you also have a nice tool to filter the data after custom rules and combination of rules. Very useful...7. Export
Exporting your collection table back into Excel is just a matter of pressing a button. The export tool generates ASCII text files but also .csv, .sql, Excel (.xls) and even html (for websites).8. Backup and password protected collection
Automatically generated backup file is saving you lot of transpiration when the may file gets corrupted. You can also password protect your collection if you like.9. Multi language
The software comes in a multilanguage package, as per today 20 languages being available (incl. of course EN, FR, ES, IT, PT, NL and since today... also DE). Check whether your language is in the list and if not, you may contribute to translating the software into your native language and receive a copy of the software for yourself.10. Price
As of Jan. 2010 the price for one full license is 35 USD (about 25 Euro). Considering the common shipping costs for our trades and other costs involved in the hobby I personally consider the price very acceptable. You benefit of 30-day money back guarantee, safetly purchase by credit card or paypaly, immediate emailing of registration key, free update for ALL further updates, serious technical support... all these included.
By purchasing the software through the SFI forum we make use of the affiliate program and a small revenue is coming back to us. I'd just like to be transparent in this and let you know that the account is on my name and these funds will be represent a minor contribution to the forum maintenance costs (i.e. hosting).
Detailed information about using the software you can get from CS help menu or browsing the Collection Studio website
. Some further links to directly download
the software or going to the secure purchase page
at RegNow website.
Some screenshots with my collection set with Collection Studio. I am really curious how do you find the software so please post on this thread your experience with CS. Should you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer you if I can.